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16 April 2007 @ 10:37 am
preparing for revisions  
It's amazing how much a manuscript can be reduced by changing font style and paragraph spacing. I'm printing out HOUSE OF CARDS for revisions (blee), and it's a 475 page manuscript in my usual style (Courier font size 12, line height set to exact: 25pt, 1" margins all around on letter-sized paper). Not wanting to print it 2 sheets to a page, and being too lazy to deal with the printer's double-side printing capacity (it works, but it requires re-feeding the paper manually, and it's a bother, plus the pages curl, so meh), I changed the spacing to 1.5, the font to Times New Roman, and made sure the printer thought it was printing on A4 paper (which it is). The result: 265 page manuscript.

This is why Harlequin, a while ago, went to using exact word counts for their series romances. If I turned in a 400 page manuscript in the style I'm currently printing at, it would have a hell of a lot more words in it than a 400 page manuscript in my usual style. I personally keep track of my actual wordcount, always aiming for an actual 110K (or whatever is appropriate) for the book I'm working on, and then use the 250 words per page times the number of pages for my approximate wordcount when I turn the manuscript in. In the style I use, there's usually about a 10% discrepancy between the actual wordcount (according to Word) and the wpp wordcount (HOUSE OF CARDS has 109,940 words and 475 pages, so I put it down as being 119K). I once met someone who put together an algebraic formula to explain the discrepancy, because it bugged her so much.

Anyway, I was just writing this to fill the time while I printed out the manuscript, and now it's printed, so I have to go to work.

*laughs out loud* My husband is over here playing his highest-level CoH character so that I don't catch up with him. *laughs more* Stinker man! *laughs*

miles to Minas Tirith: 68.5
Current Mood: crappyeh
Current Music: ted playing CoH while I have to WORK, whiiiiiiiiine
salymander on April 16th, 2007 09:15 am (UTC)
Wow, algebraic equations for word count exactlness. That's serious.
desperancedesperance on April 16th, 2007 10:01 am (UTC)
Also, when it's revision time - esp when you're on your second or third or seventeenth readthrough and hate the damn thing *this* much - changing font and layout shifts all the words around on the page, makes everything unfamiliar to look at, and hence makes it much easier to spot the little typos and other problems that sneak in...
kitmizkit on April 16th, 2007 11:37 am (UTC)
You know, I hadn't thought of that, but it's an incredibly good point. I'll remember it for the future, when I'm at the eye-bleeding stage of a manuscript.
desperancedesperance on April 16th, 2007 11:52 am (UTC)
I only picked up on it because I was always finding errors in the proofs that I'd missed even on half a dozen passes through the typescript. I had a wee think about why that might be, came up with this, tried it. It does work wonderfully well, even for surprisingly meaty corrections, rethinks, etc: as fjm notes in a different context today, you can interpret a passage differently simply on account of where it sits on the page. Strange, but true. So now I do this as a matter of course. It does also reduce the eye-bleeding effect, because the MS just becomes more interesting to look at...
robinowenswriterobinowenswrite on April 16th, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
Printint Out MS
I actually do it like an ARC, 2 pages per sheet landscape so it looks like a book and I "feel" like it's a book. It helps me get a different mindset. I've been writing in Times New Roman, so that when I finish my word count, I know I probably have a few more lines than in Courier.

Take care,
nuj on April 16th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
I'm dialogue-heavy, with generally short paragraphs, so while I use the same format (standard manuscript format that has for years caused so much controversy among authors! LOL) as you do, I have a 12-15% differential. 400 ms pages (100K) is 85-88K actual word count.

Which, I think, is why for the lines (not the single titles) Harlequin has BOTH word count and page count requirements.

Not that, you know, I write for them myself or anything. I just hear things. :)